Laptop LCD brown-out

So Mr. Coordinated (me) managed to drop the wife’s Dell 700m the other day. Seemed to work ok right after that, but the next day the display was dimmed out to the point of useless. The external monitor port works, so she hasn’t lost anything (I did back up her files just in case).

Researching the 'net it seems likely that the LCD backlight has crapped out. Cheap (under $20) to buy, looks like a bitch to actually replace. Oh that her laptop is exactly two months out of warranty.

It looks like I have a few options:

  1. Figure out what size backlight I need and order it. I’ll need to take the screen apart to measure the existing bulb, and then pray I get everything back together again once I have the new bulb. Plus I might be wrong about the bulb to begin with…

  2. Find someone that sells Dell 700m LCD panels. Probably 10x the cost, but at least 1/10 the hassle. After looking at the online 700m service manual, this seems like a very easy task.

  3. Send the laptop somewhere for repair. Even more cost.

Thoughts? Anyone have any direct experience with laptop repair?


When my mom broke my Dell laptop’s screen, it was going to cost :bigbuxx: for Dell to send me a replacement screen, and you have to install it yourself, so I just said “fuck it” and got a new laptop. This may not work for you, though.


That actually sounds more like the Inverter… It’s about a $30 to $50 (US) part that converts the power for the backlight. Had a Toshiba inverter go out and salvaged it from a retired laptop.

You can find inverters for most laptop models on eBay, or by searching for “laptop LCD repair.”